Charm Tong is a Shan teacher and human rights activist. She was born in the southern Shan State of Burma. At a tender age of 6, her family left the Shan State for the Thai border to escape the fighting and wars between the Shan forces and the Burmese state military. After completing the 9th grade in Chiang Mai, she joined the Shan Herald Agency for News as an intern and worked with different human rights organizations. In 1999, she started Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) which campaigns and advocates for human rights and democracy in Burma.
In 2002, SWAN published its report License to Rape: The Burmese military regime’s use of sexual violence in the ongoing war in Shan State. This documented 173 incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence, involving 625 girls and women, committed by Burmese army troops in Shan State.” The report describes “systematic and widespread incidence of rape” and includes 28 detailed interviews with rape survivors. The publication attracted global attention to the issue of sexual violence in Burma’s internal conflicts.
Charm Tong received –
The Marie Claire Women of the World Award in 2004
The Reebok Human Rights Award in 2005
Student Peace Prize, which was awarded to her at the International Student Festival in Trondheim in 2007
Vital Voices Global Leadership Award in the area of human rights in 2008